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NY F85162

April 11, 2000

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:113 F85162


Mr. Jeff Wall
Novelteams Corporation
P.O. Box 190751
Miami Beach, Fl 33119-0751

RE: The country of origin marking of novelty keyrings

Dear Mr. Wall:

This is in response to your letter dated March 24, 2000, requesting a ruling on whether the country of origin marking may be waived for imported keyrings. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

The samples you provided are novelty keyrings, which were the subject of a classification ruling, NY F85163. You request that the item be exempt from marking because there will not be enough room for the marking on the item due to its diminutive size. The merchandise is a small, white flat, plastic piece containing a sound chip. The plastic piece measures 2 inches by 2 ½ inches and is 3/8 of an inch thick [5.3 cm. x 5 cm. x1 cm]. The chip will be programmed after importation with a sport-team’s mascot sound. The plastic piece is attached by a steel chain to a split ring. Under these circumstances, the keyring with its attachment is of adequate size for a country-of-origin marking that is legible, conspicuous and permanent.

You also remark that and any marking will detract from the ultimate design. This is not a legally valid reason for an exception to marking. The item must be marked “Made in China” or “China.” Because there are a variety of acceptable methods of marking, including hang-tags, labels, etc., we suggest you contact your local Customs port for advice on the method that will least detract from the design.

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(d), defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. If an imported article is to be sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser. In this case, the ultimate purchaser of the keyring is the consumer who purchases the product at retail, or who receives it as a gift.

As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist James Smyth at 212-637-7008.


Robert B. Swierupski

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